The Soviets have developed over the years a considerable talent for innovation in small arms. The first was the Avtomaticheskaia Vintovka Simonova (AVS36), introduced in 1936. While many have been produced, the AVS has not had much success due to the existence of a huge recoil, and that dirt and dust came easily into their mechanisms. The AVS was poorly used.
The SVT 38 (Samozariadnya Vintovka Tokareva) which replaced the AVS in 1938 was designed by VF Tokarev. It was operated by gas such as AVS, and to reduce their weight, their mechanisms were too weak to withstand prolonged use as well as with frequent problems like broken parts. The production of SVT38 stopped in 1940 to be replaced by SVT40 which had almost the same kind of mechanism, but it was made much more robust, resulting in a much better weapon. But still had the problem of a strong recoil. In order to get the best of the SVT40, the weapon was commonly used by well-trained soldiers who could use the full potential of rapid fire weapon. Some had telescopic for snipers.
When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, they soon found the SVT38 and SVT40 and used them under the names of Selbstladegewehr 258 and Selbstladegewehr 259 respectively. Once the gas engine was examined, it was copied and used in the Gewehr 43 rifle.
The SVT40 production in the Soviet Union continued almost until the end of the war. The SVT40 had great influence on future Soviet weapons, from assault rifles to culminate in the AK-47. Also caused a great impact on the Soviet infantry tactics.